Grain Storage in the United States and Abroad

by Ben Brown

Click here to Access article Grain Storage in the U.S. and Abroad (has graphs)

Happy Grain Bin Safety Week! That right, February 18th through the 24th is national Grain Bin Safety Week. Grain bins are certainly nothing to play chicken with as the grain inside, while used to make the food that nourishes our bodies, can also be a quicksand-like hazard. Taking extreme caution and having at least one other person around while inside a grain bin is highly recommended.  In fact, since some grain bins are located on the edge of the field without a readily known mailing address, making sure the address is posted somewhere visible is just an added layer of preparedness in case emergency help is needed. Grain bin safety is important! In honor of Grain Bin Safety week here is a quick review of the grain on hand both in the United States and internationally.

There should be little surprise that stocks, both domestically and abroad, have been on the rise the last five years as world prices for corn, soybeans, and wheat declined after their peaks in 2012/13. Five straight years of above trend yield for worldwide grain production have contributed to the abundant stocks. An example of trend would be if a football team won six games one year, seven the next, and eight the following. Given trend, one would expect that in the fourth year, the team would win nine games, but instead they won fourteen. This would be an above trend year. Arguments can be made whether the exceptional world yields were products of good weather globally or technological advancements in seed. Lower prices for grains have encouraged producers to retain larger portions of their crop on farm or in storage at local elevators in the hope for an upward bounce in price.

Starting with domestic soybeans, 2017 was another solid year for soybean production. The National Agricultural Statistics Service will make the county yield estimates for 2017 official later in February, but early estimates are for 49 bushels per acre. This is slightly down from the previous year of 52 bushels per acre. However, planted acres for soybeans have steadily increased the last few years and the increased acreage more than compensated for the decrease in yield. Soybean production in the U.S. totaled a record 4.39 billion bushels in 2017. Luckily there has been an increased use for crushed soybeans, soy protein and soybean oil. Figure 1 shows domestic stocks and the percent of total use.

In figure 1, we see that the stocks to use ratio for U.S. soybeans has increased the last four years largely contributed to strong yields across the Midwest and increased acreage. Due to profitability of corn and soybeans per acre, the United States Department of Agriculture has projected that soybean acreage will continue to increase in the years to come. The U.S. exports a little over 2 billion bushels of soybeans each year, which is almost half of the total use of domestic production.

Moving to “King” corn, the same story roughly applies. However, this time record corn yields across the Corn Belt were counteracted with a decrease in harvested acreage. Not all of the increase in soybean acreage for 2017 came from corn acreage, as wheat and sorghum were also contributors. Especially in Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. However, with a national yield of 177 bushels per acre, 2017 beat the previous record yield. Total production in the U.S. came in at 14.6 billion bushels, down 4 percent from 2016.

At 20 percent, the stock to use ratio for corn has increased in six consecutive years. Another strong yielding year or a decrease in the demand for corn products could put even more downward pressure on corn prices. Ethanol production uses about 5.5 billion bushels and corn used for animal feed makes up about 5.6 billion bushels. These two categories make up the largest segments of U.S. corn use. Currently the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates are projecting a 2017/18 marketing year average price of $3.30, which is below Ohio’s average breakeven price and $0.40 below the reference price created in the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 2014 for Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments at $3.70.

For wheat, one of the bright spots is that the U.S. stocks to use ratio has started to decrease after a historic high last year. However, the downside for wheat is that there has not been the large driver for demand like in corn and soybeans with ethanol and protein respectively. Since 1996, the total use for wheat has remained relatively flat with slightly decreasing production on reduced acreage. Until demand for wheat picks up, wheat acreage will continue to decrease. The 2018 wheat planning was down 1 percent from 2017 and down 10 percent from 2016 coming in at the second lowest projected planting on record. The WASDE projected price for 2017/18 is $4.60 also below the reference price of $5.50. Figure 3 shows the quantity of U.S. wheat use. The majority of wheat use is in foodstuffs like bread, cookies and pasta.

Putting all three crops on the same graph, Figure 4 compares the stock to use ratios for all three U.S. commodities.

However, the U.S. is not the only place with large ending stocks in storage. World supplies of corn, soybeans and wheat have also been on the increase the last few years as referenced by Figure 5. Corn and soybeans stocks to use ratios have both showed a decrease on stronger demand and a growing drought in South American crops specifically Argentina causing reduced yields.

International trade is a topic of popular discussion in America right now as the renegotiation process of the North America Free Trade Agreement just finished its sixth round of negotiations. Canada and Mexico are importers of U.S. corn and soybeans with China remaining as the largest importer of U.S. soybeans. A strong U.S. dollar relative to international currencies weakens the market share of U.S. goods in the international markets. In the last few years, Brazilian soybeans have chipped away at the U.S. export market to several of the world’s largest importers of soybeans. Exports remain vital to the U.S. as large portions of both corn and soybeans production rely on international trade.


Stocks in the United States and globally have grown in the last few years on larger than expected yields. Large stocks suppress grain prices as grain comes to the market out of private storage when market prices tick up. It is unlikely to see large movements in future prices for the coming growing season without a weather related shock. However, local elevators will probably fluctuate their delivery price based on their need for grain. Ethanol plants in Ohio have already started to do this when needing more corn. Large stocks internationally will continue to hurt U.S. trade internationally as a strong U.S. dollar makes U.S. products more expensive. Some countries like China have reversed domestic commodity price supports to work down their stockpiles of corn. As stocks decrease, the expectation is to see larger swings in markets from weather related events both domestically and abroad. Happy National Grain Bin Safety Week!

Ben Brown
The Ohio State University Department of Agriculture, Environmental, and Development Economics
614-688-8686 (Office)  660-492-7574 (Cell)

2018 OSU Outlook Meeting Schedule

Source: Chris Bruynis, Associate Professor & Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension is pleased to announce the 2018 Agricultural Outlook Meetings! In 2018 there will be seven locations in Ohio. Each location will have speaker addressing the topics of Free Trade Agreements: Why They Matter to US Agriculture, Grain Market Outlook, and Examining the 2018 Ohio Farm Economy. Additional topics vary by location and include 2018 Farm Bill Policy Update, Dairy Production Economics Update, and Farm Tax Update.

Join the faculty from Ohio State University Extension, Ohio State Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics, and Industry Leaders as they discuss the issues and trends affecting agriculture in Ohio. Each meeting is being hosted by a county OSU Extension Educator to provide a local personal contact for this meeting. A meal is provided with each meeting and included in the registration price. Questions can be directed to the local host contact.

The Ag Outlook presentations will be recorded this year and be made available to farmers not living close to the meeting locations or those unable to attend. These will be posted in early February on the Ohio Ag Manager website located at For additional information on recording, please contact Chris Bruynis at

The outlook meeting are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

Date: January 22, 2018
Time: 7:30 am – 10:30 am
Speakers: Barry Ward, Matt Roberts, Ian Sheldon
Location: Emmett Chapel, 318 Tarlton Rd, Circleville, OH 43113
Cost: $10.00
RSVP: Call OSU Extension Pickaway County 740-474-7534
By: January 15th
More information can be found at:

Date: January 22, 2018
Time: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Speakers: Barry Ward, Matt Roberts, Ian Sheldon
Location: The Loft at Pickwick Place, 1875 N Sandusky Ave., Bucyrus OH 44820
Cost: $15.00
RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Crawford County 419-562-8731 or email
By: January 15th
More information can be found at:

Date: January 26, 2018
Time: 8:00 am – noon
Speakers: Barry Ward, Matt Roberts, Ian Sheldon
Location: Der Dutchman, Plain City
Cost: $15.00
RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Union County 937-644-8117
By: January 19th
More information can be found at:

Date: January 29, 2018
Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Speakers: Mike Gastier, Matt Roberts, Ian Sheldon
Location: St Mary’s Hall 46 East Main St. Wakeman, OH 44889
Cost: No Charge; $20.00 if past deadline
RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Huron County 419-668-8219
By: January 22nd
More information can be found at:

Date: January 29, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Speakers: Barry Ward, Jim Byrne, Ian Sheldon
Location: Jewell Community Center,
Cost: $10:00 (after deadline $20.00)
RSVP: OSU Extension, Defiance County 419-782-4771 or online at
By: January 22nd
More information can be found at:

Date: January 31, 2018
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Speakers: Ian Sheldon, Jim Byrne, Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Dianne Shoemaker, David Marrison
Location: Fisher Auditorium
Cost: $15.00
RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Wayne County 330-264-8722
By: January 24th
More information can be found at:

Date: March 23, 2018
Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Speakers: Barry Ward, Matt Roberts, Chris Bruynis
Location: Chamber Ag Day / Ag Outlook meeting, Darke County
Registration Flyer:
Cost: $20
RSVP: Darke County Extension office at 937-548-5215
By: March 16th
More information can be found at:

OSU Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference Video Recordings

On November 9, 2017 the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics at The Ohio State University offered their annual Agricultural Outlook Program. Each presentation was recorded for those agricultural leaders that could not attend. We are making these available to everyone. Below are the links to the full conference and each individual presenter.

Full Seminar – 2017 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference: View Full Conference

Ani Katchova – Ohio Farm Financial Conditions and Outlook: View Dr Katchova’s Presentation

Ian Sheldon – Free Trade Agreements: View Dr Sheldon’s Presentation

Ben Brown – Ohio Farm Management Program Overview: View Ben Brown’s Presentation

Carl Zulauf – 2018 Farm Bill Outlook: View Dr Zulauf’s PresentationGeorge Mokrzan – Economic Outlook:

George Mokrzan – Economic Outlook: View George Mokrzan’s Presentation

Gary Schnitkey – Current Outlook and Economic Conditions on Corn-Belt Farms: View Dr Schnitkey’s Presentation

Conference power point presentations can be found here

Technical difficulties or questions can be directed to
Kelli Trinoskey
Communication and Outreach Manager
The Ohio State University
Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
Agricultural Administration Building, Room 250H – 2120 Fyffe Rd. Columbus, OH 43210

Points to Consider Before Starting a Hops Operation

By: Brad Bergefurd, Horticulture Specialist, OSU South Centers

Hop farming requires a substantial investment in capital, time and management. A business and marketing plan is essential to developing a successful hops operation. A new factsheet has been released by OSU Extension to outline the pre-planning points that should be addressed to create a financially successful hops operation.

Economic considerations and site preparation are two important points for a successful hops operation and integral to a business and marketing plan. Planning in these two areas is essential, and the business and marketing plan should be developed at least one year prior to planting the first hop plants.

New hop growers are also encouraged to consider the details in this fact sheet before making an investment. Production budgets indicate at least $25,000 per acre may be needed to establish a high trellis hop planting and at least a $100,000 investment for a small-scale hop processing, drying, pelletizing, cooling, packaging and freezing facility built to federal and state food safety regulatory standards. This fact sheet looks at:

  • Market establishment
  • Labor needs and availability
  • Facilities for processing and storage
  • Insurance considerations
  • Financial and planning resources
Site preparation considerations including:
  • Site selection
  • Field preparation
  • Plant selection
  • Plant nutrition and fertilization
  • Pest management

The complete fact sheet can be accessed at: or can be obtained by calling your County Extension office.

Ag Outlook and Policy Meeting to be held on February 2 in Wooster, Ohio

So what’s ahead for farmers and Ag businesses in 2017?  OSU Extension invites producers to attend the Ag Outlook and Policy meeting on Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Fisher Auditorium OARDC located at 1680 Madison Avenue in Wooster, Ohio. A wide variety of experts will be on hand to share their agricultural outlook for 2017.

The following presentations will be made during the program:

Speculation on President Trump’s Policy Agenda and What Are Grain Markets Telling Us?- By: Carl Zulauf, Ag Policy Specialist and Professor Emeritus from The Ohio State University will provide “

Dairy Economic Update- By: Dianne Shoemaker: OSU Extension Dairy Production Economics Field Specialist

Beef Cattle Outlook- By: John Grimes: Extension Beef Program Specialist

Ten Legal Trends That Could Change Agriculture- Peggy Hall: OSU Extension Ag Law and Resources Program

Crop Budget and Cropland Rental Update- Rory Lewandowski: Extension Educator Wayne County

Farm & Estate Tax Laws – Planning for an Uncertain Future- David Marrison: Extension Educator Ashtabula County

This program is being sponsored by OSU Extension, Farmers National Bank, and Farm Credit.  The registration cost is $15 per person with the deadline of January 26, 2017. Make checks payable to OSU Extension. Please send checks and registration to: OSU Extension- Wayne County, 428 W. Liberty Street – Suite 12, Wooster, Ohio 44691.  More information can be obtained by calling the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 or email Rory Lewandowski at

2016 Grain Outlook Meeting to Be Held in Plain City

by: Amanda Douridas

Low crop margins are one of the biggest concerns farmers are dealing with. Projections are for crop prices seem to change daily. Are farmland rental rates going to provide any relief? What about input costs? These are all difficult questions to answer given predicting the future impossible. Based on their experience and research, University experts will do their best to answer these questions during a series of Outlook Meetings across the state.

Extension in Champaign, Madison and Union Counties, along with the Union County Agriculture Association are hosting a Grain Outlook Breakfast at the Der Dutchman in Plain City on January 27 from 8:30-noon. The cost to attend is $10 and reservations can be made by January 20 to the Union County Extension Office, 18000 St. Rt. 4, Suite E, Marysville, OH 43040. For more information, visit:

Dr. Carl Zulauf will examine what the grain markets are telling us and the price and return outlook for 2017. The morning will also feature a presentation from Barry Ward on examining land values, rents, crop input costs and potential crop profitability for the coming year. Additionally, Peggy Kirk Hall, J.D., will address ten legal trends that could change agriculture.

Other locations around the state can be found at:

Grain Marketing: Turning On-Farm Storage into Profit

With corn and soybean prices trading at values near or below breakeven points, it’s important to develop a marketing plan that allows farmers the ability to try and capture potential profits while minimizing risk. OSU Extension is offering three meetings this December for farmers to learn about marketing grain in a tight economy.

Farmers have the option of attending one of three meetings, featuring Jon Scheve of Superior Feed Ingredients as a guest speaker. Meeting dates and locations are as follows:

·       Auglaize County: Dec 7, 5-9pm. Wapakoneta Eagles (25 East Auglaize St, Wapakoneta, OH). To register contact 419-739-6580.  Pre-registration is due 12-2-16.

·       Paulding County: Dec 8, 9am – 1pm. Paulding County Extension (503 Fairground Dr, Paulding, OH). To register contact 419-399-8225.  Pre-registration is due 12-2-16.

·       Madison County: Dec 9, 9am-1pm. Beck’s Hybrids (720 US 40, London, OH). To register contact 740-852-0975.  Pre-registration due 12-5-16.

Jon Scheve of Superior Feed Ingredients will be talking about what can influence markets in the upcoming year and how to better prepare your operation for the opportunities and challenges you will be facing. Jon will explain how on-farm storage combined with forward selling, market carry, and basis appreciation can provide added income. He will also educate farmers on how hedging with futures and options can be used to protect farmers from risk.

Registration for each meeting is free and includes a meal. Pre-registration for each meeting is required. Contact the hosting county Extension office to register (Auglaize: 419-739-6580; Paulding: 419-399-8225; Madison: 740-852-0975).

Current Hay Conditions in Ohio

By: Maurice L. Eastridge, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

The weather conditions have been variable in Ohio this summer. Some areas have been extremely dry and other areas have been very wet during the past two to three months. Thus, hay yield and quality are quite variable across Ohio. For those areas that have been very dry, yields have been adversely affected, even though the quality of the hay harvested may be rather good. For the areas that have been wet, it has been very difficult to get the second and three cutting harvested. Thus, even though yields may be respectable, quality has been adversely affected. Therefore, many livestock farmers in Ohio need additional hay for the winter. In some cases, they need to purchase hay of higher quality than they have on hand. Now is the time to make such purchases as the last cuttings of the year are occurring and before prices creep up post harvest as supply diminishes with ample demand.  Read the full article by clicking on current-hay-conditions-in-ohio

2016 Corn Silage Crop in Ohio

By: Maurice Eastridge and Bill Weiss, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

The weather conditions have been variable in Ohio this summer. Some areas have been extremely dry and other areas have been very wet during the past two to three months. Thus, corn silage yields will likely be quite variable across Ohio this year. For those areas that have been very dry, yields will be adversely affected, but generally the concentrations of protein and energy will be better than average. Therefore, many dairy farmers in Ohio may need to purchase additional corn for silage or identify other ingredients to replace corn silage in the diet. Now is the time to make such decisions while some corn may still be standing in the field, other forages are readily available, and commodities will be less expensive near harvest time.  To read the full article click on 2016-corn-silage-crop-in-ohio

Economic Impact of Avian Influenza

By: Sam Custer, OSU Extension Educator, Darke County

Since December 2014, the USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human cases of these HPAI H5 viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally.

168 Influenza findings have been reported since December, a majority of which have been turkeys and most recently layers.  The HPAI H5N2 virus strain has been confirmed in several states along three of the four North American Flyways: Pacific, Central and Mississippi. The latest findings can be found at

The novel H5N2 virus is not the same virus as the H5N1 virus found in Asia, Europe and Africa that has caused some human illness. This H5N2 strain is a new mixed-origin virus that combines the H5 genes from the Asian HPAI H5N1 virus with N genes from native North American avian influenza viruses found in wild birds.

Biosecurity is critical for all poultry producers including backyard flocks.  Consider a review of the recent news release from our college

Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension, recently reported losses in poultry production and related businesses due to avian influenza are estimated at $309.9 million in Greater Minnesota, according to a newly released emergency economic impact analysis from University of Minnesota Extension.

Using economic modeling, analysts determined that for every million dollars in direct losses, the estimated ripple effect leads to $1.8 million in overall economic losses, including $450,000 in wages. Ripple effect losses stem from factors including reduced wage-earner and business-to-business spending.

The Extension analysis put losses of poultry production–both turkeys and egg-laying chickens–at $113 million as of May 11.

“These projections represent where we stand as of May 11,” said Brigid Tuck, Extension senior analyst, who led the study. “If the virus affects more farms, as we have seen since May 11, the impact levels will rise. If barns stay empty for another cycle of poultry production, these numbers could potentially double”

Sandve’s full article can be found at

Producers are no longer thinking about “if” this will hit Ohio, but “when”.  We hope the disease will miss us this spring but it has been predicted that the level of risk will be high each fall and spring for the next couple years as waterfowl migrate back and forth through our state.

The values of poultry sales in Ohio from the last census is $946,592,000.  If we would experience a 50% loss of production in Ohio, I would estimate a ripple effect would be 1 billion dollars in overall economic losses, including $815,000 in wages.

No poultry in your county – think about the effect on the demand for corn and soybean meal.  If we would lose ½ of our poultry for a 6 month period of time you would reduce corn demand by 27,000,000 bushels, the equivalent of 9% of our state corn production and soybeans would be about a 5,000,000 bushel reduction.

For those with commercial poultry operations much planning and execution is necessary at this time including advanced biosecurity and disaster planning.